Who is Salt? That's the question that's been asked all spring and summer on movie posters and in trailers for this film. Is she a CIA agent? A Russian spy? A double agent? A victim of circumstance? A rogue assassin? Has she been framed by international thugs?
We don't really find out with certainty until the final fifteen or twenty minutes of this tightly packaged action-suspense movie that wouldn't be much if not for its big-name star, Angelina Jolie, who is as convincing in the title role as any of her male Hollywood counterparts would have been (the script was originally written with Tom Cruise in mind, I read). She endures torture at the hands of the North Koreans, leaps out of helicopters into frigid rivers, climbs high-rise apartment buildings like Spider-Man, and blows up legions of men who are out to get her. Even at her home, she doesn't seem to mind the giant, poisinous spiders that her husband keeps around (he studies them for a living)!
The plot that sees Evelyn Salt racing barefoot and dodging bullets through Washington and New York hinges a bit too heavily on serendipitous events (there just happens to be a tractor-trailer truck in the right place at the right time, there just happens to be furniture in an interrogation room whose parts are perfect for outfitting a bomb on the fly, and so on). But those things we can overlook, thanks to Ms. Jolie's confidence and steely glare. Quick: Name another female actress who can open a big action movie in the summer all by herself. We can't.